20 Best Web Design Tips To Honour 20 Years Of Alchemy Web Design Agency

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Over the last 20 years the world wide web landscape has changed substantially, and consumer behaviour has radically changed even more. Web technologies now dominate the way we communicate, the way we consume information, the way we shop, and the way we gather information to make decisions both online and also in the “real” world. The internet has become an essential part of everyday life. The glorified brochureware websites are being replaced by more compelling ‘story’ led websites. Basic web pages are being overtaken by comprehensive mobile and secure business apps.

Web Design Tips

 

To commemorate 20 years of Alchemy Interactive (the web agency) we’ve created 20 tips for current best practice in making your website the best it can be – here goes:

  1. Speedy Sites win the Eyeballs
    The fact that Google favours fast websites (so more people are likely to find you) coupled with the fact that when they find you, they will be able to interact and view your website leads us to think that this is a very important factor when designing websites. Research has shown that it influences everything from bounce rate over user satisfaction to conversions and revenue.
  2. Remember the 5 second rule  - Engage and Prosper
    Your website needs to convey your value proposition – your ‘why’ you -  within 5 secs or you’ve lost them. Engage with your target audience and your business will prosper
  3. Optimise Above the Fold
    Is there a fold I hear you say? With the multitude of screen sizes it’s difficult to say what this should be, therefore some say it doesn’t matter anymore.

    However, the stats show that in 2018, people spend 57 percent of their time above the fold with a sharp decline afterwards. 74 percent of their time is dedicated on the first two screenfuls.

    So, it seems like the fold still matters. This means you need to prioritise and optimise your content and use the available space to hook users in so they continue. Our tips are:

    • Use a clear and motivating headline, targeted at your customer base — Explain what your site can do for visitors, highlight the benefits. Be brief and use engaging language.
    • Include your main call to action — To improve your chances for converting, the fold is the time to start the user journey. Make sure your CTA is clear and visible.
    • Include eyecatching media — Images, videos or audio can help emphasise your point and extend visitor dwell time.
  4. Mobile friendly – Responsive website
    52% of all web site browsing is done on a mobile. Make sure your site is mobile friendly by making it responsive. Google’s recent mobilegeddon update means that searches served on a mobile device will favour a mobile responsive site.

  5. Content is king – keep it fresh
    Your website needs to be fresh, up to date and full of the latest thinking. That’s if you want to challenge the competition and stay ahead of the game. Don’t get left behind.

  6. Don’t make me think - Keep it Simple
    User experience is the key to any good web design. People should be able to navigate throughout your site without confronting dead ends that cause them to navigate away from your site. Also a huge study by Google (https://ai.google/research/pubs/pub38315)  has shown that visitors don't like visual complexity. To summarise: the more complex your design, the less it is perceived by visitors as beautiful.
    What does that mean for your site? Overall, use familiar layouts, navigation methods and colour schemes. People love familiarity and can get frustrated when they have to work things out and make sense of something new.

  7. Build in SEO from the Start
    Being found in search results is often the key to being in business. From the very conception, your website needs to be build around the fundamentals of SEO: research your keywords, weave them into content, optimise your site architecture and page names, include an update to date XML sitemap. These simple steps help your website rank more highly in search results help your website generate organic traffic that leads to new prospects and ultimately sales.

  8. Direct Attention with Visual Cues
    One of the main features of good web design is to guide users. You can do that by giving different weight to different elements, thereby directing focus where you want it to go.
    However, you can also use more direct visual cues to achieve this. One is by taking advantage of the fact that humans tend to look in the same direction as people they see in ads. You don’t have to be that subtle about steering visitor attention. Sometimes it helps to be blunt about it. For example, in one study, researchers tested the effects mentioned above against a simple arrow pointing at stuff. Funny enough, the more direct method outperformed the subtle cue.
  9.  Web 2.0 – It’s About the User's Needs, Not About You
    In the early days of the web, many businesses concentrated on themselves. They went to great lengths to show what they did and why they were a great company. While this hasn’t completely changed, these days the internet’s best sites are much more focused on what a business can do for a user. Concentrating on what you can do for the user instead of what you want the user to know about you will help your site to become a more effective sales tool.
  10. Use People in Pictures (But Avoid Stock Photos)
    Besides using them to direct attention, including other people in images on your site is generally widely used. People like to connect with people both online and offline.
    You can see this at work in one case study by Basecamp. They managed to increase their conversions by 102.5 percent by changing from a text-based landing page to one with a large photo of a person in the background.
  11. Security
    A must in this day and age and is one of the most important parts of a well-designed site. Never store data on your site that can compromise your business or the privacy of your customers. Ensure you have a comprehensive SSL certificate and keep your CMS software updated.
  12. Use pre made tools
    While it can be tempting to build your website from scratch with your own CMS, it is better to use existing open source platforms. WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and Magento (for ecommerce) are great alternatives that are relatively painless to set up and can allow all the functionality you need. These CMS options come with the added bonuses of plug-ins that will simplify your online marketing efforts and support any issues you might encounter.
  13. Don’t let your website slip
    Always stay on top of your online presence and continuously work to ensure your website is as optimised for business as possible while keeping track of what your competitors are doing as well.
  14. Give social evidence
    People love to be reassured and have a tendency do as others do. That means, if a group of people approve of something, others are more likely to do that same. One way of leveraging this on your website is to show social proof. If you can show that others have a positive opinion of your site, content, product or service, new visitors are more likely to do the same.
    You can most easily show this with counts of social shares, media mentions and/or testimonials.
  15.  Building Trust
    Building trust is critical if you are selling products or services online. You can do this by: highlighting your guarantees, feature certifications, be accessible and contactable, be transparent, show customer reviews. These features can make the difference between someone hitting the dreaded back button and making a purchase.
  16. Call to Action
    Make it simple for customers to engage with you – give them a reason or a CTA, or a “Call To Action.” as it is known. The most common calls to action are “Request a Quote,” “Buy Now,” and “download our tips”
  17. Monitor, Evaluate, Adjust
    Keeping tabs on how your website is doing is extremely important, particularly when you’re trying to find ways to upgrade your site. Knowing exactly where your website is falling short is the only way to make the right changes that will make your audience happier and motivate them to convert to customers at the highest possible rate. Monitor keyword rankings, conversion rate, and bounce rate as you plan your website’s future design.
  18. Include Social Media
    Social media is one of the best ways to build loyalty and establish a brand voice. Make it easy for your audience to share your content by integrating social media into your web design. This simple step provides a great opportunity to create brand advocates who will attract new customers and help your website to drive more sales for your business.
  19. Become a Thought leader in your industry
    Being an industry leader is no longer just about holding a great position at a well-respected business. These days, the term means that you are actively sharing your practical experience with others. Whether it’s on your website or via a social media platform like LinkedIn, sharing your practical advice and knowledge with others shows that you and your business know what you’re talking about. This thought leadership is a great way to build brand recognition and sales.
  20. 360 approach - Your Website is a Component of Marketing
    Your website is just one of the tools within your marketing armoury – remember it needs to be consistent and reflect everything else about your business: your brand proposition to your ethos. Make sure everyone is onboard and that you’re all sailing in the same direction.
    If you’re starting a new website or need help shaping up and old one contact us and we will help steer you through the web adventure. Call us now for a free review on +44 (0)20 3884 0805

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